Closed for Remodeling

| Jan 21, 2019
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I went full-time, back in early November, My birthday falls on Halloween, which explains a lot about me, don’t you think? And on Halloween I was in the Montgomery County Courthouse with my lawyer Kristine Holt, who is herself a transgender woman, for my name change hearing. Oh wait, I’m supposed to write about ‘fun’ stuff. Well, transitioning is fun, right?

I was wearing a black Calvin Klein sheath dress and black pumps. Kristine was wearing a red sheath dress. The funny thing was that there were three women in the row in front of us who were dressed as witches — complete with the classic wide brimmed conical witches’ hats. The hearing proceeded smoothly and the judge presided over about a half a dozen cases in around 35 minutes. One hour later, I was in possession of a stack of ten embossed name change decrees from Montgomery County in Pennsylvania declaring to the world that was I was now Lynda (formerly known as Mark). Sorry Mom, but I am movin’ on. The entire process took about 12 weeks from start to finish.

Halloween 2018 was a bright, sunny day and I took Kristine out to lunch at a nice northern Italian restaurant in King of Prussia to celebrate. Yes sports fans, I ordered an extra dry Bombay Sapphire martini, up with olives in a classic martini glass. It took forever to arrive as the day bartender could not figure out where the night bartender had stashed the olives. I savored the moment with Kristine and then we parted ways in the parking lot.

I headed straight to the Department of Motor Vehicles to get my new driver’s license, which it turns out required a side trip to a Seven Eleven to get a money order. I carefully combed my hair and freshened up my lipstick, so my new driver’s license photo would be presentable. Fortunately, I had the forethought to change the gender marker on my driver’s license during the summer, which had required a letter from my physician. On my way over to get the money order I had spied a branch of my bank so with some more time on my hands, I dropped in to change the name on one of my bank accounts. Changing your name is a marathon of name change forms. Last, but not least, I headed over to Michael’s Crafts to pick up some green face paint, which I needed for my witches costume. I was headed to the Henry David Costume Ball in Philadelphia that night. The fiftieth annual Henri David Ball. The Grand Daddy of all Halloween Parties with oh lets say 500 people in amazing costumes.

The witchy Lynda.

Halloween is one of the three high holy days of the Crossdressing Calendar. The other two are New Year’s Eve and Valentine’s Day. My ex-wife had never been comfortable with me dressing en femme on Halloween, because everyone would know that I was a crossdresser. It’s hard to disguise the telltale signs of makeup expertise. Last year, I went to the Henri David Ball in a Fashion Police costume. Halloween is important to me and I love to devise clever costumes, but this year I was busy laying the groundwork for my transition at work, so I ordered a classic black witches costume ala Wicked Witch of the West from the Wizard of Oz. Not particularly creative, but I did go all out with the face paint, which I applied in under 20 minutes (not recommended, the face paint never really had a chance to dry and it bled into my eyes all night long). My reasoning for choosing the witches costume was that I was planning facial feminization and breast augmentation surgery for 2019 and I thought I might as well play the scary card this year and save the sexy costume card for the Fall of 2019.

Before, we go any further on the topic of surgery, let me just say that surgery is an element of transition that is not within the reach of many of my transgender sisters and brothers and I know that I am truly lucky to have the resources to execute the surgery. Those of you who know me on Facebook, know that I have only made a few references to my upcoming surgery on my Facebook page, which is in large part due my respect to all my brothers and sisters who can’t afford it. And besides, I have an image to portray. It’s my job.

Having decided that I was serious about surgery, the first step was the consult with my surgeon, followed by an attempt to gain insurance coverage. This six week battle ended in defeat. I would be paying out of pocket. At least we gave it the old college try. I could get a very nice sports car instead of the surgery or erase debts. No. My mind was made up. I wanted the surgeries. I reasoned that this was an investment in my future, sure to boost my self-confidence and increase my chances of marrying a millionaire. The surgery will virtually pay for itself. Okay, let’s get real, I am probably not going to marry a millionaire, but I gotta believe it will help me believe that I am a woman. As my hair gets longer and longer, that conviction grows, and having my own pair of bolt ons is going to help me take it to the next level. It is also sure to boost my status in the love underground (hmm . . . a mysterious reference . . . we transgender women are all about mystery).

Back in August, surgery seemed far away and the ensuing months have been filled with electrolysis visits, coming out to friends and coworkers and voice feminization lessons, which it turns out are super important and very challenging. 

Lynda with her pal Jone at the “Iggles” game.

“It’s along way to the top if you wanna rock and roll”. (AC/DC reference). Electrolysis is not for sissies and neither is being referred to as “sir” on phone calls. You grit your teeth and you carry on. Two days after my official name change I had my nails done and got my ears pierced. So far I have gotten my nails done in Sail Away Blue, magenta, metallic blue and Stay Off the Lawn (an OPI color that’s close to Eagles green. Yay me! The compliments on my edgy nail colors help me to fend off the “sirs” that I get from service reps on the phone. Will I ever escape them? Doubt it, but there is hope. My friend took me to my first Eagles game at The Linc against the Texans on December 23rd.  We won the game on a last second field goal. It was a very exciting game, and I always yell at games. I’m a natural baritone.  The cute 9 year old sitting directly in front of me was very confused. Why does the lady in back of me sound like a man? Why is she chanting the ref sucks? My voice coach would have been horrified.  

December is always the busiest month of the year for me at work. Between my heavy work load, the irresistible and mandatory holiday parties and last minute shopping, I was burned out and ready to recharge my batteries and I was ready to start getting into my pre-surgery end game. I went for a 4 mile walk on the Schuylkill River Trail near my townhouse to clear my mind on New Years Day. My mind was filled with fear. I was worried that this was all a big, very expensive mistake, that my daughters wouldn’t recognize me afterwards, that work was going to pile up while I was in recovery (that’s for sure, like a shark moving through a sea of emails, if you stop moving forward you die), scared of the recovery, scared of scars, scared that my nose will be crooked and that I will need revisions. Clearly, I was freaked out.

With six weeks to go before surgery, I decided to stop actively posting on Facebook. I put a note on my Facebook page that read:

“Closed for Remodeling, Grand Reopening March 2019.”

I was going to start circling the wagons, get serious about losing weight, talk to my financial advisor and declutter my townhouse. I got this, I thought. I had been putting off all the prep, but such are the holidays.

And then a bomb hit, with five weeks to go, my surgeon’s office called me to explain that my original surgery date had been nixed by the hospital. There were three choices. I could move my surgery up by two weeks, but that required coming up with all the money immediately. They might have an opening in mid-February, or I go to the end of the surgical cue in June. Wait a minute! Hold the phone! But, but, but, I locked in on my date back in August. I went on an emotional rollercoaster ride of financial brain salad surgery and hustling to get my ducks in a row and locked in on the early date. Six days later, my financial advisor had cooked up a plan. Cut now, pay later, you won’t feel a thing. I locked in on the early date and sprang into action to execute my new game plan. I always work better under pressure.

I lined up a visit with my primary care physician, got my neighbor Bob to help me move the couch up from the basement and my neighbor Rachel, who is a mechanical engineer to draw a scale model of my first floor so we could devise a floor plan for my bachelorette pad. It still looks like an episode of hoarders, but it’s gonna look great by my surgery date. I contacted my lawyer to update my will. The operation will be six to eight hours long, and you never know when it’s your time. I binge watched episodes of Botched. Perhaps most important of all, I contacted my close friends who I will be relying on to be my support team during my surgery and recovery. They gave me the emotional comfort that I needed. To be honest, I haven’t thought much about the upside of surgery. I am focused on getting ready.

I have been daydreaming of this surgery for years, waiting patiently. And now every day is in terms of how many more days until surgery. I know that the recovery will be an ordeal. My nose will be packed for a week. This is the ultimate makeover. I am hoping that it will open doors for me, but the truth is, it’s just one piece of the puzzle. Trying to look pretty is hard work, but little by little I am beginning to see a woman in the mirror.

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Category: Transgender Body & Soul

Lynda Martini

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  1. StephanieW StephanieW says:

    I shouldn’t be surprised to find you here as a contributor author! but its so great to read your writings again. I really miss reading about your two wheeler ordeals on the paths with other bikers or runners… really enjoyed your roller blading story you posted on Facebook. I dropped my FB accounts ( stephaniew and Steve) over a year when my identify was hacked and FB wasn’t willing to assist and actually caused more problems cleaning up the mess. I am so happy to hear your ‘big remodel job” and will keep you in my prays for a fast recovery(less pain).
    Looking forward to reading your stories and tells in the future.

    with love,